SCORES of North-East jobs will be created in a pioneering UK offshore energy development.

Teesside Advanced Manufacturing Park, in Middlesbrough, will house the UK’s first offshore wind validation centre.

Bosses expect the move, which is backed by a £2.4m Government grant, to support up to 20 new and 35 existing businesses, creating 60 jobs and safeguarding 70 posts.

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It is expected to start operating in June 2015.

The investment has been approved from the European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013, managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Match funding is being provided by Middlesbrough Council and Tees Valley Unlimited Local Enterprise Partnerships’ (TVU) Growing Places fund.

The centre will be a research and development base supporting the offshore wind sector, and will be operated by Middlesbrough-based technology firm TWI and Teesside University.

Communities Minister, Baroness Stowell said: “Middlesbrough is rightly recognised as one of the country’s great industrial bases and the Government wants to help it develop new skills and technologies to remain an economic force into the 21st century.

“The £2.4m will create a world-class technology and innovation park to make Middlesbrough even more attractive to existing and potential investors, create more jobs and great economic prospects.”

Councillor Charles Rooney, executive member for regeneration and economic development at Middlesbrough Council, looked at the move’s wider benefits.

He added: “This will give a significant boost to Middlesbrough’s economy and the Tees Valley.

“The first development by TWI will kick start the park and provide a world-class research facility that support a number of key business sectors in engineering and manufacturing.”